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Question
Hi. Please I would like to know the meaning of "χρῆσις-chrésis". I saw this word in Holy Bible (Romans 1:26-27) and there was translated as "relations". Others versions translated it as "use". Please Would be wrong to translate it as "relations" in a sexual sense, a sexual connexion? What would be the meaning of this word in Romans 1:26-27? Thank you so much!

Answer
Hello,

the meaning of  the ancient Greek feminine noun χρῆσις (3rd declension), which has the same stem as the verb χράομαι (transliterated as “chráomai”) meaning “I  make use of”/I use”, is just “use” as 'employment/use made of a thing'.

As for this word in Holy Bible (Romans 1:26-27: 26 where we read:...…… αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι
αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, 27 ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας….), please note that τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν in the accusative singular depending on the aorist μετήλλαξαν (literally, "they changed") means exactly “the natural use”, so that αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, 27 ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας…. translates as follows “……for even their females changed the natural use into that against nature;27 and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female….....”.

To sum up,  the noun χρῆσις always means “use”, not "relations" in a sexual sense, a sexual connexion.

For example in Plato, Laws 841a,  we find   ἡ τῶν ἀφροδισίων χρῆσις  where  ἡ  χρῆσις  corresponds to “the use”, while τῶν ἀφροδισίων means “of sexual pleasures”.

So, as you can see, the meaning of χρῆσις is always “use”, whereas the meaning “relations” in a sexual sense used in a translation of  Romans 1:26-27, as you say, is simply a free translation of a context where  the accusative τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν (the natural use)persuaded the translator to think that such an expression was referring to a sexual connexion, so that, instead of translating "the natural use into that against nature", he wrote "...women had sexual relations" which is a loose adaptation of the ancient Greek text.

In short, it is wrong to translate χρῆσις  as "relations" in a sexual sense,as it always means "use".

Hope all is clear now.

Best regards,

Maria
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Note that in the accusative singular  τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν  the word φυσικὴν is an adjective meaning "natural" and τὴν χρῆσιν  means "the use".

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Maria

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I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning ANCIENT GREEK. So, do not ask me please questions regarding MODERN GREEK as it is different from Ancient Greek either in spelling/meaning or in pronunciation.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy) and my thesis was about ancient Greek drama (Aeschylus).

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